Schaumburg, Illinois – Automotive loans in the U.S. that are 60 days past due rose by nearly 17 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the same period in 2008, according to Experian Automotive.

The report found that currently, 1.04 per cent of all automotive loans are 60 days past due, while 30-day delinquencies rose 9.87 per cent over the same period. Combined, these past-due loans accounted for nearly US$29 billion at risk.

“There continues to be a steep climb in the number of people past due on their auto loans, which causes a negative ripple through the industry,” said Scott Waldron, president of Experian. “As more loans become delinquent, lenders begin to tighten their criteria for automotive lending. Ultimately, this makes it more challenging for consumers to find funding when they want to buy a car or truck, and more difficult for dealers to help consumers secure financing.”

Overall, delinquencies were highest in the Southeast, with Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina at four of the five highest 30-day delinquency rates. The District of Columbia ranked second. The lowest 30-day delinquency rates were in North Dakota, Arkansas, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The average loan for a new vehicle in the fourth quarter of 2008 was $24,444.

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